RUSTON, La (KMSS/KTAL) – Down by eight runs in the semifinal against Southern Miss? No big deal for Louisiana Tech. Down by three runs in the ninth inning facing elimination? No problem for the Bulldogs. Two walk offs in one day led LA Tech to the Conference USA Championship where they once again trailed, and they once again tied it in the ninth inning against Old Dominion. Even Head Coach Lane Burroughs couldn’t believe it was happening again.
“I literally busted out laughing when he [Parker Bates] hit the homerun,” said Burroughs. “It was the only emotion I could muster up.”
While it was laughter for Coach Burroughs, it was excitement for the guys on the field and the fans in the stands as the game headed to extras. However, it was the Monarchs who pulled off the magic this time.
“Even when they hit the two-run homer, I still think we’re going to win,” said Burroughs. “But it wasn’t in the cards. We just ran out of gas.”
Although the Bulldogs didn’t come away with the trophy, Burroughs believes the tournament as a whole was a win for the team, and for the community.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys,” said Burroughs. “We got to play on Sunday. Our fans showed up in droves. They did a phenomenal job. We had it rocking the last two days and that’s how you build a program.”
Louisiana Tech knows a thing or two about rebuilding. Just two years after a tornado destroyed their ballpark, the new Love Shack will play host to an NCAA regional as Ruston was chosen for the first time in program history.
“We’re home…I’m kind of speechless,” said Burroughs. “What the team and these guys have been through, and it’s been tough. You start thinking about it and it got emotional. It did. Some guys in the room got emotional. There’s not a lot of schools and university baseball programs that can say they hosted a regional and we’re going to be able to say that now forever.”